It’s time to down tools, people. Just like we’re spearheading a nutrition revolution in Dublin’s offices with fresh fruit, juices, healthy snacks and dairy, it’s up to you to reclaim your lunch break and put it to great use – your team, your body and your overall mental health will thank you.
We’ve written before about work/life balance, but we cannot stress enough how incredibly important this is in your job satisfaction and overall happiness at work. Every single day we’re offered an hour of free time we can use to restore this balance and take time to re-focus, relax or even put the time to good use and learn a skill, catch up with a friend – all a great investment in positive mental health.
Of course it’s easier to crank through work and stuff a pre-packaged sandwich into your gob than go out of the office. Especially if many of your colleagues are doing it. Especially if it’s now become the norm and universally accepted. Especially if it’s cold, rainy or you just don’t want to speak to people. Your lunch break won’t break your focus or interrupt your get s*** done mindset, it will actually help and strengthen it, re-focusing and reinvigorating your mind to go into the next half day of work.
We love Stylist Magazine’s #ReclaimYourLunchBreak campaign, launched in London in 2015, which rallied readers into taking their full allocated hour’s lunch at least twice a week to spearhead an employee wellbeing revolution. The magazine also offered ways to put the time to good use with daily suggestions of things to do and how to better utilise your full lunch break.
The French have it right – lingering leisurely over lunch as long as possible, often taking an hour or up to two hours in the middle of the day and going to the local bistro to relax and enjoy a plate of food. This idea is often alien to the Irish working mindset. We’re hard grafters, but at what expense?
It’s not taboo to take a full hour’s lunch break, after all it’s probably written in dried ink on your contract! You’re entitled to it. Research by Bupa in 2011 found that under 30% of us take a full hour, with a third of respondents indicating they felt under pressure to work through lunch and half of respondents citing an overbearing workload as the reason they neglect a proper lunch break. BBC research in 2013 found even worsening statistics.
This image above is an app in development called Gone To lunch that forces the user to take a digital detox for a specific amount of time in order to focus on lunch and other activities. How cool!
Here’s three reasons why reclaiming your lunchbreak should be a main priority in all workplaces in Ireland:
It improves productivity
Forget the notion that you’re lesser committed to your role if you take full advantage of an entire lunch break. You’re actually sabotaging your productivity and mental health by staying at your desks. Ploughing full steam ahead for nine hours is not going to do you any favours. Studies have shown productivity drastically drops in mid-afternoon if employees haven’t had a satisfactory break as it exhausts our cognitive capacity. In the 1960s, American physiologist Nathaniel Kleitman discovered that humans can only focus for 90 minutes and require a 20-minute break thereafter or else we get fidgety, drowsy or hungry. Nowadays, we counteract this natural cycle with constant caffeine for alertness and synthetic stimulation. A break is a natural relaxant and stimulant – you’ll be guaranteed to be more focused if you step away from the computer for 10 or 15 minutes once or twice a day.
You’ll be healthier
Regular breaks truly help both brain and body and will lead to an overall better health and wellbeing for everyone. It’s important to physically move, especially venturing outside the four walls and going outside. Get out into the sun and natural daylight. Chase that Vitamin D and unleash those seratonin “happy hormone” levels. Aim to leave for at least 15 minutes, if only for a brisk walk or even a mosey in and out of the local shops.
You’ll bond with your team
Lunchtime is as much about unwinding, filling up on good food and taking time away from the desk as it is about being social. We form relationships with our colleagues over lunch; we strengthen team dynamics by getting to know one another better.
So what are you waiting for? Join the revolution!
It’s costs nothing but your mental health and piece of mind. One hour a day, five days a week, 240 hours a year… think of the possibilities! It’s not about intense workouts in the local park at 1pm every day and we’re not urging you to learn a new language, though those things aren’t outside the realm! The power is in your hands: use – don’t abuse – your lunch break!
…Also, transform your workplace’s nutrition with regular Fruit People deliveries of freshly-picked fruit boxes, healthy snacks, cold-pressed juices and even dairy/dairy-free milk! Click on either image above or below to be taken to our order page